TUE AM News: South central Wisconsin home sales drop 15 percent, report shows; Cheesemakers group offering export grants

— Home sales in south central Wisconsin dropped 15 percent between 2021 and 2022, according to a new report. 

The Realtors Association of South Central Wisconsin reports total home sales in the region fell from 18,546 to 15,765 over the year. While sales numbers for January through June were roughly in line with comparable figures from 2020 and 2021, they began to drop off more in the second half of last year. 

The number of homes sold in December was just 943, down from around 1,500 for the same month in the two prior years, the report shows. 

“Many agents report that the reduction in sales activity correlates to the 12.7% drop in new listings as sellers delay putting their homes on the market,” report authors wrote. 

Meanwhile, the 18-county region’s median home price rose 10.9 percent in 2022, according to the report. After briefly exceeding $400,000 earlier in the year, the median price for Dane County fell to around $350,000 closer to the end of 2022. Home prices in the region had been steadily increasing for the past 10 years, according to the report.

Report authors note the market remains “hypersensitive” to changes in mortgage rates, as buyer demand changes dramatically following relatively small rate changes. 

“Over the last few weeks latent demand has been on display with buyers jumping in and out of the market as rates move and affect their purchasing power,” they wrote. 

The association predicts the housing market will “likely remain at more sustainable sales and price increase activity” throughout this year as it stabilizes following pandemic ripple effects. Its report notes higher interest rates aimed at slowing inflation have helped to “slow the significant appreciation” in home prices. 

“As we look forward, stabilizing interest rates will be vital to create confidence for buyers and sellers in a balanced market,” report authors wrote. “Conversations surrounding solutions to tight inventory and lack of affordability will continue as private and public entities work to find solutions to issues decades in the making.” 

See the full report: https://www.wisbusiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/230120RASCW.pdf 

— The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association is offering grants of up to $15,000 each to dairy exporters in the state. 

The grants are aimed at driving international sales for recipients, which don’t have to be association members. Funding can be used for social media and marketing campaigns, shipping and logistics costs for buyer samples, and costs linked to in-store demonstrations, sampling and merchandising, according to a release. 

Selected applicants will get free dairy export consulting services through the WCMA. This includes customized coaching to evaluate products and identify potential customers around the world, as well as other types of assistance. 

Funding for the grants comes from DATCP’s Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports, the release shows. WCMA received a $100,000 grant for the program, with $75,000 of that going toward the business grants. An association spokesperson said the group plans to award funding to five recipients. 

WCMA Executive Director John Umhoefer says dairy processors in the state are “poised and ready for exponential growth” in overseas markets. 

“This investment will enable WCMA to continue to expand our broad array of resources to help Wisconsin’s dairy manufacturers share their story with more international consumers,” he said in a statement. 

See the release: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2023/wcma-offers-additional-dairy-export-grants/ 

See a recent story on the group’s policy priorities: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2023/cheesemakers-roll-out-policy-agenda-call-for-more-state-funding/ 

— The Wisconsin Laborers’ District Council has hired former Dem state Rep. Gordon Hintz as its new director for the Wisconsin Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust.

That arm of the union identifies and promotes issues of mutual benefit and concern to both labor and management.

Hintz, who represented an Oshkosh area seat over 16 years in the Assembly and served as minority leader, will be based out of the union’s DeForest office.

See the release:

<br><b><i>Top headlines from the Health Care Report … </b></i> 

— COVID-19 case numbers in Wisconsin remain relatively low, but two counties have moved back into the highest category for community level activity. 

And Madison Dems Rep. Lisa Subeck and Sen. Kelda Roys have introduced a resolution to include a referendum on the April ballot asking voters whether the state’s 1849 abortion ban should be repealed.

<i>For more of the most relevant news on COVID-19, reports on groundbreaking health research in Wisconsin, links to top stories and more, sign up today for the free daily Health Care Report from WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com.</i>

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<i>See these and other press releases: 

https://www.wisbusiness.com/press-releases/ </i>

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